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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Problems with Protein Foods

As we approach the subject of the potential problems created by meat and the high consumption of other protein foods, we enter an area of extreme controversy. The beef, egg, and dairy industries (our main suppliers of protein foods) exercise powerful lobbies and advertising programs to keep us eating their products.

It is no secret that growth-producing hormones, chemical foods, and grains sprayed with pesticides are the daily fare of beef cattle, and that these toxic residues build up in the bodies of those of us who consume the beef. We note further that among populations whose meat consumption is high, mortality rates from a variety of cancers are correspondingly high.*

In the United States, the Seventh Day Adventists, a religious group whose members do not eat meat, offer living proof of the health benefits of vegetarianism. Studies in this group indicate their general health is far superior to that of the rest of the US population. Obviously, meat protein is not essential.

There are other problems with the typical meat-centered diet. For one, it is heavy - that is, filling - so it discourages children and adults from eating more vegetables. It also necessitates the use of large land areas for grazing and growing food for cattle. One-half of the harvested agricultural land in the United States is planted with feed crops; 78 percent of all our grain is fed to animals. Grain fed to cattle is not being fed to people. And the world is starving. Once again, it is a question of balance.

It is paradoxical that we, who may be so cautious about taking risks in other aspects of our lives, would be willing to run such high ones when it comes to the foods we eat and feed our children. In teaching and conducting workshops, we are continually amazed at how much our students and participants know about what they shouldn't do. What is lacking is the motivation to attack the problem.

Knowing all this, we offer in 4.70m4.17) the recommendations of the 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Harvard Food Pyramid, a few important recommendations for pursuing personal nutritional awareness, and some encouragement to help you in your wellness process.

* Dietary Goals, 33.

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